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Why Am I Feeling Guilty For Taking a Mental Health Day?

    Why am I Feeling Guilty for Taking a Mental Health Day?

    You might be asking yourself “Why am I feeling guilty for taking a mental health day?”. That can be a loaded question for many. In this article, we are going to explore the reasons why you may be feeling guilty for taking time off work.  We will also address how to combat those feelings so you feel empowered to take the time you deserve.

    When it gets to a point where you can’t remember the last time you took a day off work other than your scheduled off days, you might find yourself craving a mental health day. As tempting as it sounds to call out of work and take a precious PTO day, many people are hesitant to actually go through with it. 


    Work is too busy right now -Now I’m Really Feeling Guilty for Taking a Mental Health Day

    If you’re putting off taking a mental health day until work is less busy, you may be waiting forever. 

    In many professions like accounting or retail, there are defined busy seasons that make it easy to plan time off or mental health days during the opposing slow times. However, for most professionals work is almost always busy. 

    When you feel the urge to take a mental health day because you’re feeling run down and depleted at work, make a plan to do it.  Do this regardless of how busy you feel like you are. One day out of the office won’t make or break your career if you plan it strategically. 

    While you obviously wouldn’t schedule a day off on a day when you have a big presentation or deadline, there’s almost always a way to carve out a day for yourself. 

    Fear of what people will say or think if I Take a Mental Health Day

    A big reason why you might be avoiding or feeling guilty for taking a mental health day is your fear of what your boss or coworkers may think about it. This is a valid concern. You might have to handle this in a particular way depending on the dynamic of your workplace.  However, that’s not a reason why you shouldn’t take time off. 

    If you have a good relationship with your boss and your workplace is supportive of taking time off for yourself, great! Share your plan for your mental health day with your boss or coworkers. Plan it ahead of time, let your boss know you will tie up loose ends with your work beforehand, and make it clear you’re not doing it to slack off. 

    If your workplace is less encouraging of taking mental health time off, you may need to be discreet about it. This is not a case where you should lie to anyone, but it’s smart to keep the details minimal. You are entitled to your time, but you might have to be a bit creative to get it in an environment like this. 

    Request the time off or call in sick but leave your reason as vague as possible while remaining professional. Stay off social media that day and avoid sharing your big plans for the day with any coworkers so it doesn’t get back to your boss. 

    Worries About Missing Something if I Take a Mental Health Day

    People joke about FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), but it is absolutely a real thing. It’s a valid reason why you may be feeling guilty about taking a mental health day. It shows that you’re dedicated to your job and take it seriously, both of which are great qualities in an employee.

    If you truly love your job and your coworkers, you may be worried that if you miss a day of work you will miss something important at the office. This is especially true if you work in busy, fast-paced environments like a sales department or a busy startup company. 

    You may sense that something is going to happen or expect to get news on a particular day. If that’s the case, do your best to predict and plan around that but don’t make yourself crazy. Doing this may put you in a pattern of constantly delaying your mental health day for so long that it never ends up happening. 

    There is always the potential that you will miss out on something. You can’t plan for absolutely every situation that is likely to occur. Make peace with the fact that you may miss something while you’re out. Alternately, then focus on the fact that you will be getting some downtime to recharge. 

    Difficulty Arranging Coverage for Your Work

    Depending on what you do for work, it may be challenging to plan for someone to cover for you when you are going to be out of the office. It can feel daunting to think about how your work will get done if you’re out of the office even for a day. 

    If the work you do is very specific, you may worry about whether someone else can handle your workload. Rest assured that the show will go on even when you take your mental health day.

    Maybe you’re a teacher who needs to leave a detailed lesson plan for your substitute. Perhaps you’re a sales representative with a long list of clients with very specific needs that only you know about. It’s overwhelming to think about documenting all of the things you do in a day to leave for someone else to execute. 

    Even if nothing on your list gets done by the person covering for you, it will be okay. One day with little or no progress will not derail your entire project. 

    You deserve the time off to focus on yourself and get a much-needed reset, so allow yourself the space to do it. It’s just one day, you can pick back up exactly where you left off when you get back with the added bonus of a fresh perspective after a refreshing day off. 

    Concerns About Not Having Time When You “Really” Need It 

    Some companies have generous PTO policies that allow you more than enough time to take mental health days.  These are in additions to vacations, sick time, and more. While these generous or even unlimited PTO policies are becoming more common, your company may not have caught up just yet. 

    If you only have limited PTO days, it’s understandable that you may feel guilty taking a mental health day. You may feel that it’s frivolous to take a day off to get a facial or go shopping when you don’t “need” the time off.  You may feel you need to save this for something tangible like a doctor’s appointment or a scheduled vacation. 

    Take a look at the time you have allotted.  Now, try to strategize a way to use it wisely so that you can take advantage of it now and later. See if you can use a personal day or sick day for your mental health day instead of vacation time. Perhaps even consider taking a day unpaid so you can save paid time for a rainy day. 

    Final Thoughts on Feeling Guilty for Taking a Mental Health Day

    Remember, taking a day off to focus on yourself is as much of a need as an important appointment or a trip somewhere. In order to be the best employee that you can be, you need to take care of yourself first.